Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Introducing Inspiration.......Evelyn Nall

Today I am honored and proud to introduce you to my very special friend, Evelyn Ridgeway Nall.
I first met Evelyn when she requested a quilt appraisal many years ago. The very first time we met, we just 'clicked'. There was something special about our relationship and we both felt it. We always ended our time with a hug. Over the years I looked forward to getting a call to appraise yet another of her masterpiece quilts. The more I got to know her, the more she inspired me.

The  Save Our Stories program of the Quilt Alliance, is dedicated to documenting, preserving and sharing the stories of American quilters. I knew that Evelyn's story must be saved, too!**
I asked her if she would be willing to sit down sometime and let me interview her. Last December I went to her home with my little hand-held cassette tape recorder (I taped over an old Linda Ronstadt tape!) and after a wonderful soup and salad lunch, complete with apple pie, all homemade by Evelyn, we sat down to talk.
With her permission I am pleased  to share with you just a bit of her story.

In her eighty-nine years she has made both pieced and appliqued quilts - she estimates over two hundred. She likes traditional quilts best - quilts made to be used on a bed. She does fine hand applique and hand quilting. She especially loves appliqued borders - on either pieced or appliqued quilts. Failing eyesight does not stop Evelyn from having several projects going at a time. She has rigged up a magnifying glass that helps her with machine piecing.

She started making quilts by making a cardboard template and tracing around it; cutting with a scissors. There was no rotary cutter. There were no quilt shops. You bought your fabric at the Five and Dime. Today she calls herself  a 'gadget person'. She told me she recently bought a Precision Trimmer and some papers to make half-square triangles without stretching your fabric. If there is something that makes it easier she says, "Why not?"
She taught her daughter, Sandra, to quilt. They attend retreats together several times a year attend quilt shows, including the big show in Houston, Texas.

Bed Turnings:
She  showed many of her quilts in a bed turning at a local quilt shop and a crowd of over eighty people came. It was so popular that she received more invitations and traveled to several other cities and guilds across the state for encore presentations.
She begins her talk with the quilt she is holding in this picture. It has a very special place in Evelyn's heart as it is one of the few surviving quilts made by her dear mother, Bessie Lee Tanner Ridgeway. She was a an excellent seamstress and quiltmaker and a major influence and inspiration to Evelyn as she was growing up.
Then she shows her quilts, starting from the first quilt she made - a Sunbonnet Sue - which she laughs about. It was not at all square! She paid a woman $25  to quilt and bind it. She describes how the binding was tucked at the corners and how the family loved it but 'knew something was wrong! Even so, her granddaughter Erin loved that quilt and used it for many years. Evelyn laughs as she tells the story. She calls that quilt a 'hoot'!
Showing her quilts from the earliest efforts to her most recent creations allows her to share her philosophy about this craft that she  loves so much. She tells her  audience, " quilting there’s always something to learn...and you grow by doing it."

Not Anonymous!
Evelyn makes a label and takes a photo of each quilt she finishes. Unlike the fate of so many quilts, future historians will know who made it and where and when. She is proud of her work and believes it is important for people to know who made it.
All of her four children have quilts she has made. She has fourteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren and believes that all of her quilts will be passed along and cherished by her family in years to come.

A few examples of her beautiful work:

I hope Evelyn as been as inspirational to you as she has been to me. I believe she personifies the creative spirit of quiltmakers everywhere; learning, growing, sharing and loving the whole process.

 I intend to follow her footsteps and still be learning and quilting when I'm 89!

Have you compared your earliest quilts to more recent projects?
How have you grown and evolved?

**The interview is not yet added to the Index. You many email me for a copy. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

"The Hand" Top Done- at last!

In August of 2012 I posted a blog about a project I'd started a long time ago.

I was inspired by a vintage quilt in the Utah state documentation book called simply, The Hand Quilt, made in the late 1800's. See that quilt and get the full story HERE

The block looks like a Bear's Paw but with an interesting adaptation.

Today, I am happy to report that I have finished the TOP....It feels so good after being in limbo for so long that I am trying not to think about that fact that it still needs to be quilted. It will have to get in line for that - at least one other large quilt is ahead of it.

Lighting a bit bright on this shot
Here it is draped over a queen sized bed - but not the bed it will be used on. This bed has a 16" deep mattress! I will try it on the right bed next month when I get home and may decide I want an additional border. The original just had the one border and I do like that but then again, fitting the bed is important.

I'll post it again when it's quilted and will look up my start date - some of these projects are really long term!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Doll Quilts Finished

#3 Triangles
15" x 19.5"
I've finished two more little quilts. They are the 3rd and 4th in my 'series' of doll quilts being made from a vintage 'Bricks' top (shown below). Both are hand quilted.

#4 Four Patch
16" x 17.5"

I use only vintage fabrics from this top in creating the doll sized tops. I use other vintage fabric from my collection for backing and binding when I have it. The claret binding on the triangles is vintage but I used a period shirting reproduction for the binding on the 4 Patch. (both thanks to the generosity of AZ pal, Lynn)

poor construction - not 'quiltable' as is

If you've been reading my blog you will be familiar with this project but since it gets to be a long time between posts here again are the first two in the Bricks Series:

#1 Tumbler
#2 Bricks
Homage to the original top!

I love to study old quilts and note the different ways things are done so I consciously use a variety of techniques in my doll quilts just for fun. 
#1 is a charm quilt - each shape a different fabric - and is hand pieced.
#2 I brought the backing to the front to finish the edge, a finish seen on many old quilts but not common today. 

Numerous past blogs give more details on each quilt -You can use the Search box or drop down of each month to read those.

I'm planning Log Cabin and Rail Fence for #'s 5 and 6. 

Next: "Hand" quilt update

Saturday, February 15, 2014

SOCK IT TO ME! (Gussets,Heel Flaps and other fun stuff)

Sock #2
Did that date me?
Does anyone remember "Laugh In" ?

Anyway when I started this blog, years ago, I named it Quilts Etc. purposely because I knew there would be times I'd want to share non-quilt things.
I learned how to knit in Girl Scouts; probably about age ten. I've knit many sweaters and afghans, shawls and stocking hats, mittens and scarves... but never socks and let's just say my first attempt has been quite an adventure.

Motivated by a lovely soft hand-dyed variegated merino wool I bought from a rural lady at a craft fair, I found a book that looked interesting and picked the simplest, most basic pattern.
That was over a year ago..

I had a lot of trouble with the first sock but after visiting the local knit shop for help, looking at YouTube videos over and over and emailing the author of the book - phew - I finally finished the first sock. (with the method of using two double pointed size 2 needles)

I bound off too tightly and I could barely get it over my heel but when I did - it was too big. AARGH! I decided I should have made the smallest of the two sizes offered even though I felt safe in doing the 'large' for my size ten feet!

Time went by - fall arrived. I did not want to give up on this project. I decided to start the 2nd sock in the correct size.
It went so much better - and you see it pictured above with close-ups below of the toe shaping and the gusset and heel flap. I admit, I'm quite proud of it!

So now I had one very nice sock that fit well and was bound off loosely enough to actually get onto my foot - and one that was floppy and just wrong. You know what I had to do, right? Take a deep breath and start unraveling....oh how quickly it went in that direction.

Sock 1

So here is the crimped yarn - which I let relax awhile (along with me)....and it is now rolled into a ball and ready to start at the toe again.

 Maybe tomorrow!